Hellfire Brittany Talks About GraveBound's Phobia Release Show
A couple weeks ago I attended GraveBound's Phobia EP Release show and it was an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to interview some of the performers and heard some amazing music. The Canal Club will always have a place in my heart, as I have seen so many fantastic bands and felt myself embraced by the Richmond, Virginia metal family. There is a reason I didn't call it the RVA metal scene. It is so much more than that. Our local musicians and their fans love the music, but even more than that, they love one another. There are a few specific things I will note that really reflect this from the individual performances.
Shortly after arriving I talked with Seasons about their music, and what drives them. The sense of family was central to their process and growth as a band and they made me feel so comfortable in a situation that would typically leave me anxious. With newfound courage I joined the crowd as Firebrand took the stage. I was so excited when I found out they were on the bill and they did not disappoint. I even rearranged my work schedule to make sure I was there in time for their set. They had so much energy and sounded great. On top of everything, they played a song I had not previously heard, giving me hope for a new release.
While they were breaking down their equipment, I caught up with my long-time friend and vocalist from Misgiving, Tyler Morris, who provided some insight into their upcoming single. I had a blast talking to him and was eager to join the crowd again to catch Varia, who had taken the stage while I was still talking with Tyler. Varia is the one band on the bill I knew nothing about. Prior to the show I listened to a couple of their songs but hadn't really given them much time. I didn't know what to expect. They were definitely promising and I'm sure if I was more familiar with them, I'd have enjoyed them even more. Instead I stood on the sidelines and made myself a note to give them some serious consideration. They were certainly talented, and I was eager to hear more.
Once their set had ended, I took the opportunity to refresh my drink, go to the bathroom and slip through the crowd until I was face to face with the front of the stage. Misgiving was setting up and I wanted to be as close as possible. It's no secret that Misgiving is my favorite band and I knew they had plans to put live shows on hold to work out music and plans for the band, so I had to be front and center. Their performance was amazing. They are always so engaging, and I am pretty sure I accidentally knocked someone over jumping around. Next time they take the stage I know I'll be there.
Next up was Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. For being so young, they have a powerful stage presence. I had the opportunity to interview them later in the evening, but it was really hard to catch them when they weren’t surrounded by fans looking for facetime with this trio of talented musicians. The clearly made a huge impact on everyone there. Our interview was a lot of fun. They know what they want to do and they talked a lot about the support the receive from their family to keep moving forward. They may not be from Virginia, but they certainly have that family mentality that makes our local community so strong.
One band I was looking forward to was Seasons. I first met their vocalist Kent at a house show about the time “The Serpent” was released but until recently hadn’t given them a lot of thought. They were good, but I listen to so many bands a day that if they aren’t my focus, it’s easy to lose sight of them. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I really started to give them the attention they deserved. I started at Hellfire Radio and everyone seemed to love them. I had a vague memory of liking “The Serpent” so I dug deeper and it was easy to see who they were so popular among my fellow staff members. I was looking forward to seeing them perform live to see if they were just as good live as they were on their currently released singles and EP. They weren’t. They were better. Watching them on stage it was easy to see that barring tragedy, they were going to make it to the big leagues. It was one of the best choreographed and performed sets I have seen to date. On top of that, there was a moment where they fulfilled a promise made to a fan that most would not have bothered with. Two children were invited onstage to enjoy a song up close and personal. Children are prone to excitement, so it didn’t stop with just the two and soon all the children were invited up to rock out in front of everyone. It was so cool to see them embrace their younger fans and endeavor to keep them safe during the performance.
The last set of the night, our headliners, GraveBound, took to the stage. My this point my feet hurt and I was exhausted. I had sadly lost my place near the front of the venue and there was no getting through the wall of people eager to see their performance. Instead I watched for the sideines, excitedly singing out lyrics and basking in their performance. I had seen them perform before, but they were never as good as they were that night. Their EP was phenomenal and showed a lot of growth since their first project together, and it was clear that had translated to the performance. They played a lot of new tracks and some older ones as well, including several of my favorites. At last they seemed comfortable enough on stage to really show everyone what they were capable of and I couldn’t have been prouder. At one point in the set they instructed us all to look to our left and our right, then to hug those people and tell them we were there for them. I am not a physical person and typically would have been uncomfortable of the notion. I don’t know if it was because I was standing by my friend nick, or if I was swept up in the unifying energy of their set, but I found myself tearing up as I told my friend, no, my brother, everything was going to be ok.
The release show was more than a concert to me. It was a reunion of old friends and new. It was good music and cold drinks. It was easily the best experience I have had so far this year. It’s not been a great year, but when you see these bands together, they make sure you know you are welcomed. With so many of them focusing on brotherhood, mental health, and acceptance, you can’t help but to feel a sense of belonging and pride in the community that has come together to support these incredible people.